Jacque Anquetil's 1962 Tour de France Winning Bike

Monday, July 25, 2011

No. 25: 52:25

I celebrated the 25th ride with a ride that lasted 52:25 at the club.  In that time Cadel Evans covered somewhere around 40km during Saturday's stage 20 of the Tour, a ride which propelled him into yellow jersey for keeps.  In 2001, I predicted confidently that he would win the Tour in 2005.  He didn't.  He didn't win the Tour in 2006 or 2007, nor in the next three years.

Before this year's Tour started, I predicted that Cuddles would win, reasoning that Contador was too tired physically from winning the Giro d'Italia and emotionally from dealing with his doping scandal.  I felt that Schleck brothers are too nice and are not sufficiently explosive climbers to distance Evans in the mountains to overcome Evans's superior time-trialling.  What do you know, I am right!  Contador had a horrible first week.  When he wasn't crashing, he was getting stuck behind crashed riders, losing time.  Andy Schleck lost time on an intermediate climbing stage, when he got dropped on a climb, then lost his nerve on the descent to the finish, descending nervously, losing even more time.  Then, he complained about the course, exposing his weeny-ness.  He regained some credibility by attacking from 60km out to the stage that climbed the Galibier, and winning alone.  Evans ended up dragging the field up the Lauteret and Galibier for close to 20km, limiting his losses and putting himself in position to overcome Schleck in the time trial.  Contador imploded and lost several minutes to Schleck.  Contador and Schleck tried to get away together the next day to Alpe d'Huez.  Evans had to stop due to a mechanical, but managed to track down Schleck and they finished together.  Contador finished just 30 seconds ahead of them, failing to overcome the several minutes-long deficit from the previous stage.  It was down to the final TT, which Evans rode over 2:30 faster than Schleck, erasing his 57-second deficit and putting him in yellow.  Frank Schleck hung around the top climbers long enough to earn third place.  The first time two brothers have been on the podium at the Tour.

Cuddles was visibly verklempt after the stage, when receiving the maillot jaune, and again after the playing of the Aussie anthem following the final podium ceremony.  It was very touching -- a well-deserved win.

That's enough about them.  Yesterday, I wrote about starting to ride harder.  Hehe, I followed up on that resolution by spinning very easily.  Tomorrow is a hard day, I sweah!


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